The Kapalua Coastal Trail is For Nature Lovers

Kapalua Coastal Trail

Even if you're not staying in Kapalua, getting out and exploring the natural beauty of the Kapalua area on foot is a wonderful idea. Three of Maui's best hikes originate in Kapalua, and these are the Coastal Trail, the Village Trail, and the Mahana Ridge Trail. Each provides a different experience for you to enjoy. The Kapalua Coastal Trail is popular among locals and visitors, and it provides you with a relaxing way to explore beautiful beaches, discover popular attractions, and admire gorgeous resorts. Before you embark along this oceanfront trail in Kapalua, there are a few things that you should know.

Getting There and Where to Park

Kapalua Coastal Trail

Many people who hike along the trail take advantage of the public parking area close to Kapalua Bay Beach or the parking lot at Ironwoods Beach. These parking lots are easily accessible from what we call the "Lower Road", or Lower Honoapiilani Rd. If you start the path at Kapalua Bay, after you find a parking space, you will walk under a crosswalk to access a paved trail. The trail is wide, and it is initially well-manicured. The surroundings transition to a more natural landscape as you walk a short distance.

Parking at Kapalua Bay puts you at the south end of the trail and parking at Ironwoods will put you at the northern end.  However, if you are interested in a shorter walk, there are several other public parking areas to choose from. One of these is situated close to Oneloa Bay. Two others are located not far from D.T. Fleming Park.

How Long Does It Take to Walk the Kapalua Coastal Trail?

Kapalua Coastal Trail Maui

The Kapalua Coastal Trail covers a distance of 1.76 miles each way, so about 3 and a half miles round trip depending on how you do the trail. If you wish to go farther, the Northern end of the trail crosses in front of the Ritz and then connects directly with the Mahana Ridge Trail. Because the Mahana Ridge Trail is a 20-mile trek roundtrip with strenuous trail conditions, you should be well-prepared before you venture along this path. You can also connect to the Kapalua Coastal Trail from Office Road where the shops and some of the great Kapalua restaurants are. The Kapalua Coastal Trail will take about one and a half to two hours to walk round trip at a leisurely pace of around 2 mph.

On the Kapalua Coastal Trail, there are a few areas along the trail where you can break off of the main path to extend the length of your scenic journey. One of these departures takes you over lava rock to Hawea Point, and it gives you a view of crashing waves, tide pools, and Molokai in the distance. There is also a challenging maze-like labyrinth toward the end of the trail that will add approximately a quarter-mile to your hike. Be aware, however, that the trail’s distance of 1.76 miles is straight out. You will need to cover that distance again to get back to your car. But, with plenty of places to stop and jump in the water, you'll likely want to take your time. 

Where Does the Kapalua Coastal Trail Start and End?

The Kapalua Coastal Trail can begin or end either at the parking lot for Kapalua Bay Beach or at the parking lot for Ironwoods Beach. Parking for the trail can be tough sometimes, you can also park at the Kapalua Village Center and walk the sidewalk down Office Rd or park at the parking lot for the Kapalua Tennis Center and walk across the road to start at Kapalua Bay.

Is The Kapalua Coastal Trail paved?

Some of the trail is paved from Kapalua Bay past the Montage, but once you hit the bird preserve, it's a dirt trail going to Ironwoods where it's a boardwalk.  

Beautiful Kapalua Beaches Along the Trail

Walking along the Kapalua Coastal Trail, you will be treated to mesmerizing views of some of the area’s most popular beaches. Many people wear their swimsuits on their walks so that they can stop at a few beaches for swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, and more.

Kapalua Bay Beach

Kapalua Coastal Trail Kapalua Bay

The Coastal Trail starts close to Kapalua Bay. Whether you are at the beginning of your walk or you are done with your journey, you can stop by this pristine beach to enjoy its serene waters and lovely views. This beach is popular for scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming. The Coconut Grove community sits right behind the beach and makes an excellent location for enjoying each and every sunset. 

Namalu Bay

Kapalua Coastal Trail Cliffhouse

Namalu Bay sits only 100 yards from the first beach on your path. Its most popular feature is the Cliffhouse. This is a natural structure that is built into the rocky craggy shoreline. There is a dedicated side-path down to the Cliffhouse area, but you will need to navigate the rocks to get around the coastline. Locals call the whole area cliff house and are rarely referring to the actual Cliff House in front of the Montage Residences. That is used for private events and is bookable.

Oneloa Bay Beach aka Ironwoods

Kapalua Coastal Trail Ironwoods

Oneloa Bay Beach, which is also known as Ironwoods Beach, is a flat, sandy beach that covers a length of a quarter of a mile. It sits close to the Kapalua Resort, and the area is generally less crowded than some of the other local beaches. Here, you will find gentle waves and a relaxing vibe. A portion of the beach has a reef near the shoreline, and this may prevent some swimmers from getting in the water. However, if you venture farther down the shoreline, you will find a beach with a sandy bottom that is ideal for swimming.

D.T. Fleming Beach

D.T. Fleming Beach is widely known as one of the best spots for bodyboarding and surfing in the United States. The beach is long, wide, and sandy. It is usually more crowded than other beaches because of its great surf conditions. Those who do not enjoy bodyboarding or surfing often come to watch the action. However, you can also swim safely closer to the shore.

Kapalua Real Estate New Listings

Resorts and Condos Along the Kapalua Coastal Trail

There are many renowned destinations situated along the Kapalua Coastal Trail. Whether you decide to stay in one of these resorts or condos to be close to the trail or you simply enjoy their well-manicured grounds as you walk by, they will undoubtedly impress you. Take a look at all of the Kapalua Condos For Sale.

Montage Residences

Montage Residences Maui Kapalua

Montage Residences is a resort-like condo community that sits on 24 acres. It is located close to the trailhead and Namalu Bay. On-site, you can enjoy dining al fresco overlooking the beach and treating yourself with pampering spa services.

Kapalua Bay Villas

Kapalua Bay Villas Maui

The Kapalua Bay Villas is a collection of premium villas that are situated over rocky cliffs and Oneloa Beach. Many villas have large lanais that let you enjoy ocean views from your private villa. The lovely grounds cover 16 acres, and they provide tennis courts and a pool overlooking the water.

9 Bay Drive

9 Bay Drive Kapalua

With a coveted location on Hawea Point, 9 Bay Drive is a private, luxurious home. It is near the Montage community, which makes it easy to enjoy premium spa treatments. The home sits on 9.9 acres and boasts a three-car garage, an infinity swimming pool with a jacuzzi, a fountain courtyard, a gourmet kitchen, indoor and outdoor master bathrooms, and more.

Ritz-Carlton Maui Kapalua

The Ritz-Carlton is located about halfway down the trail, and it provides prestigious accommodations and a host of amenities. You can choose between a residential suite or one of the one and two-bedroom rentals. At the Ritz-Carlton, you will be close to the Kapalua Bay Golf Course and can enjoy on-site amenities like a spa, several dining options, a fitness center, and a swimming pool.

Things to Do on the Trail

In addition to taking in the impressive views from various vantage points along the trail, you can enjoy stops at several prime destinations. During your walk, you can:

  • Admire the natural beauty of the Dragon’s Teeth lava rock formations
  • Look for protected Ua’u’kani birds in their natural habitat
  • Enjoy the breathtaking sight of waves breaking against lava rocks at Namalu Bay
  • Visit the historic Honokahua burial site
  • Explore the labyrinth
  • Go for a swim at Cliffhouse

Plan Your Kapalua Experience Today

While it only takes a few hours to walk along the Kapalua Coastal Trail, there are many places to stop along the way. If you fully enjoy all that the trail offers, you could spend a full day exploring the sights and sounds. Plan your great experience in Kapalua today.

Get In Touch!

Evan Harlow Maui

Evan Harlow is a Realtor on Maui who has the expertise, experience, and work ethic to help you achieve all of your real estate buying or selling goals. We promise exceptional service and support from the beginning of the process through closing and beyond.

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Posted by Evan Harlow R(S) 82003 on


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